Savor the last few days of summer with this arugula, quinoa, and fresh fig salad. It’s not only beautiful and seasonal — it’s jammed with nutrients, too.
The Health Benefit of Figs
Although dried figs are available throughout the year, there is nothing quite like a fresh, juicy fig in the late summer months. Flavorful, fragrant, and oh-so-sweet with a delicious seedy bite, fresh figs are a seasonal fruit to gobble up while you can.
Fresh figs are abundant in a variety of vitamins and minerals including vitamin B6 and K, copper, manganese, calcium, and potassium. They also contain a hefty dose of fiber, which aids in digestive regularity, and antioxidants noted to reduce free radical damage and protect cells against disease.
In fact, a variety of different antioxidants are found in the leaves, fruit, pulp, and skin of fresh figs, according to this 2015 study. Dried figs, BTW, may even contain even more antioxidants, which is a good excuse to snack on those when the fresh ones are not available.
A 2014 review showed that figs have been used in over 40 medicinal applications for the treatment of diseases like anemia, cancer, diabetes, liver diseases, paralysis, skin diseases, and ulcers, among others.
There are hundreds of varieties of figs, but only a few can commonly be found at the supermarket. Look for Black Mission figs, which are deep purple with pink flesh, or Brown Turkey figs, which have maple-brown skin and purple-pink flesh. Other varieties to look for are Sierra, Calimyrna, King, and Kadota figs.
This fresh fig salad is made up of fresh and peppery arugula, quinoa, pumpkin seeds, and a tangy balsamic vinegar dressing. It’s great to have alongside a picnic or barbecue, and makes a pretty presentation at dinner parties. And it’s most definitely a delicious way to savor sweet summer.
Arugula, Quinoa, and Fig Salad
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 1 ½ tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- ½ tsp honey or agave
- Sea salt and pepper, to taste
- 4 large handfuls fresh arugula
- 8 fresh figs, quartered
- ½ cup cooked and cooled quinoa
- 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
- Prepare the dressing first. Add olive oil, Dijon mustard, balsamic vinegar, and honey or agave to a small bowl and whisk well to combine. Season with sea salt and pepper, to taste.
- Add arugula and cooked quinoa to a large salad bowl. Drizzle with dressing and toss to coat completely. Add in figs and pumpkin seeds and stir to combine.
- Serve fig salad immediately and enjoy!
If making your own salad dressing just isn't your thing or you don't have the time, try our healthy recommendations for store bought salad dressings, there are five! . Note that using store bought dressings will change the flavor profile and nutrition value of the recipe.
Photos by Kate Gavlick